"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Charter School Funding and that Giant Sucking Sound

 Nice piece of commentary here:

. . . . Charter schools have two primary funding sources: one from the taxpayers and the other from investments often executed with little public knowledge of intent or interest. Specifically, investments from billionaires, private foundations, and hedge fund managers reap tax advantages when they donate large sums of money to charter schools. After tax codes were changed in the early 2000s, “banks and equity funds that invest(ed) in charter schools in underserved areas took advantage of a very generous tax credit,” HuffPost reported. “According to one analyst, the credit allows them to double the money they invested in seven years.”

The real estate industry also stands to benefit by promoting charter schools and helping them buy up property, or rent, in inner city communities.

As one example indicates, the Rocky Mountain Prep charter school chain in Denver  received $4.5 million from billionaire MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, in October 2022. Two months later, the KIPP charter school chain received $6 million from the same billionaire. These investments were in addition to the per pupil allocation these schools received from taxpayers in Denver.

When a child enrolls in a charter school, funds move from the public school to the charter school. Taxpayers may not be aware that their dollars are funding a structure that helps a private company or group of investors reap rewards or gain tax incentives. Moreover, the taxpayer may start to see their local neighborhood school struggling because the funds are flowing into the charter school.

Researchers have demonstrated that charter schools operate differently than their public-school counterparts. In their exhaustive study of charter schools, Kevin Welner and Wagma Mommandi describe 13 practices that many charter schools use to control their enrolment. These practices are not always regulated by state laws, and “when charter school enrollment is ‘biased’, it severely undermines our ability to compare funding, growth, or achievement.” . . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment